I currently work in a junior position for a big corporation.

I recently overheard someone in a senior role making fun of me to other senior people and it has upset me to the point of wanting to leave. The comments made were about me personally and nothing related to my work.

I was surprised that someone holding a senior role finds it appropriate to made fun of a junior team member. This person is well liked and is very friendly with management so I don't really want to complain as I feel it would make the situation worse.

What is the best way to handle this situation?

  • 4
    Assume whenever anyone says anything it's about you and it's bad. After a while you no longer care.
    – Snowlockk
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 14:25
  • 1
    What jurisdiction are you in?
    – sleddog
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 19:43

4 Answers 4


I would talk to my supervisor about it, and make the decision to stay or start looking for a new job based on the way the situation was handled from that point.

  • 1
    Excepting a situation involving sexual harassment or one that may erupt into workplace violence, no one's manager wants to be "the police" to run to.
    – Xavier J
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 16:10
  • 6
    @codenoir Regardless of what they "want", managing their employees is a basic part of their job...
    – Byte Lab
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 16:34

Stand up for yourself

I am in a similar situation at my work. There is a senior dev and a group of "good old boys" that will put down others just for a laugh. It's not super malicious but annoying nonetheless.

Here is what has worked for me(YMMV):

Approach them directly, and ask them if they were talking to about you. If they admit they were talking about you be direct but non-confrontational. Say something like "I don't appreciate being mocked while at work. Please don't do that again. " I like this approach for a few reasons:

  1. It shows them you will stand up for yourself.

  2. Mentioning to a supervisor or HR, though justified, comes off as tattling.

  3. It will make them somewhat uncomfortable facing the consequences of their actions. They should.

This may depend on the relationship with them. They may be reasonable and apologize. If you think you could get fired in retaliation, you may want to be careful. If they don't fess up that they were talking about you, apologize and move on. They may be lying, but at least they know that you will stand up for yourself.

It is sometimes uncomfortable to approach people directly about these kind of things, but I find that it is the most effective way of dealing with it.

  • 2
    Good approach. You can stand up for others at the same time: "I don't know if you were talking about me or someone else, and I don't really care. Mocking your coworkers like that is completely inappropriate."
    – Caleb
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 17:17
  • Since OP actually heard the conversation, if the other worker doesn't fess up, why would OP apologize? An "actually, I heard you, so please don't do that again," would cover it, but I'm a bit bull-headed in my approach sometimes, so maybe that's not the best way. Commented May 15, 2017 at 19:42
  • @PoloHoleSet. It's all about reading between the lines. You may be saying "I must have heard wrong. I apologize." but you are really saying to them "You better watch it. I will stand up for myself.".
    – Ronnie W
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 21:54
  • @RonnieW. - I get it. I'm not a fan of kabuki vs direct communication. Like I said, my approach may not be the best. Commented May 16, 2017 at 13:34

I recently overheard someone in a senior role making fun of me to other senior people and it has upset me to the point of wanting to leave. The comments made were about me personally and nothing related to my work.

First, be sure that they're definitely making fun of you (I've heard similar stories that have been escalated to ridiculous levels before realising that it was simply a mix-up over names!)

If you are sure, then first head to your boss, then HR if his response isn't satisfactory. From that point, see how the situation is handled, then see how you feel. If you still want to leave, I'd say at least give it a while for things to calm down (it's easy to make the wrong decision when emotional) before deciding for certain and handing in your notice.

  • 1
    Good advice, especially if OP's real name happens to be "Milton Waddams." Commented May 15, 2017 at 19:45

Talk to your supervisor about it but first makes sure that you're the target of their mockery. It's easy to misunderstand overhead conversation inside a workplace.

Now that you're are sure, talk to your boss about it and insist on the fact that their remarks are likely to disturb you're concentration and can affect your work. If your boss is concerned about your working conditions, he would immediately talk to the seniors and make them stop, more easy if your boss is also their boss.

Don't play the hero by trying to defends yourself, it is the best ethical way to react to that kind of situation but in a workplace when the weight of ages, experiences and position inside the firm are playing a huge role into decision making, it might be better not to take any risk and deliver it to your superior.

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